We’re all getting ready for new classes this week. We are planning course work and writing syllabi. We are meeting new students and giving directions around our always-under-construction campus. It some ways it is chaos, but it’s also fun to anticipate and to plan.
The spring semester sneaks up on me. Summer sort of inevitably winds down and I can feel school coming on, but the winter break is always fast and I forget to look up and see the first day approaching. I’ve written about loving the start of the term, about the strange combination of anxiety and excitement that accompanies the start of every semester. This week has brought all of those same crazy feelings, but the winter start is different: quieter and yet still abrupt.
I think the school start was made harder by the inside part of work. I skied a lot last week. Nearly every day. I looped around a mountain golf course with my dog and my mother several mornings in a row and I even played hooky with Cody one afternoon. I love Nordic skiing for lots of reasons, but I mostly chase that effortless glide. I’m not a practiced skier; I’m sure my technique is horrific and it’s rare that I complete an outing without a fall, but I love that feeling of sliding across the frozen ground. The sound of snow under skis is squeaky and rhythmic when accompanied by hard pole plants. When the snow is good – cold and fresh – it’s easy to disappear into the hard work and sunshine under the Bighorns. A good glide looks like grace even on a klutz like me.
Coming inside maybe the hardest part of starting the winter term (fall too, now that I think about it), but it strikes me that I’m chasing the same feeling as I plan my classes. I love the optimism of planning a new semester. All of my ideas seem brilliant and shiny (like new snow). I plan for lively discussions about art and literature and change. It all looks so smooth – challenging, but rewarding and certain (on paper). Preparing for the semester is the glide – the easy, optimistic part of the year.
So we’ve all got our heads down while we plot and scheme. We are walking in to our new classes full of optimism and fire. I’ve got it all figured out – at least for now. However, I do know the uphill climb is out there waiting for me.